Best Beef Noodle Soup in LA
Anyone know some good beef noodle soup places in LA? I've been to several places and here is what I think about them. if you've been to these places and have better recommendations, please let me know.
Here is how I rate my beef noodle soup...
1) Broth - broth is very important to me, I'd rather have good broth and not so great noodles. The broth makes the beef noodle soup. Good broth is essential. Should be hot, spicy, deep in flavor, never too salty, and zesty. With every spoonful of the broth it should make you want to take another.
2) Noodles - hand made noodles are usually better, noodles should have a chewy consistency, never soggy or too soft. Noodles come in all shapes in sizes but should require a little bit of chewing.
3) Beef - should be tender and fall apart, fat and soft tendons are never a bad thing.
The gold standard in terms of beef noodle soup for me that isn't in taiwan or china has been, of all places, Noodle Asia in the Venetian Hotel in Vegas (I know there is probably better out there). They have perfectly spicy and pickly broth and good noodles and tender beef. However, beef noodle soup should not be $14, the bowl should not be that small, and the best beef noodle soup should not come from a casino in Vegas.
Heavy Noodling (Monterey Park)- interesting "pigs ear" handmade noodles, didn't care for the broth. The handmade noodles reminded me a little too much of Korean dduk. The broth should have been a little stronger to balance the abundancve of starch in the bowl.
Mandarin Noodle House - average broth, average noodles, average beef... just average but not bad
Noodle King - Place is a kind of whole in the wall place. It's in the same strip mall as the Lee's Sandwiches in Alhambra. Out of the few places that I've gone, this place has the best broth. They give you a side of preserved/pickled veggies that add a nice zestiness to the soup. However, the noodles are average at best, not handmade. You'd think that Noodle King would have good noodles. All in all, this is my current favorite place to get beef noodle soup because of the broth. If only the noodles were handmade.
Beacon - Beacon doesn't have a beef noodle soup and isn't your traditional place to get soup noodles. However, I'm adding it because i feel that the braised pork belly noodles reminds me of beef noodle soup. The broth is very tasty but at times a little too strong. The braised porked belly is delicious. The noodles are pretty good. This would be my top replacement for beef noodle soup if I didn't eat beef.
re: AGENT FOODIE
I'm so happy to see Sue's Kitchen getting some love from the CHers. Sue's has become one of my favorite go-to places for good Chinese comfort food. The beef noodle soup is quite good - be sure to order it with the thick noodles. They've improved a lot of their menu items over the last year, so their scallion pancakes and dumplings are much better now. They have this flaky savory pastry thing (sorry, don't know what they call it in English), but it's the perfect accompaniment to the beef noodle soup. The fried fish plate is excellent too.
Another place for interesting beef noodle soup is Moo's Restaurant on Torrance Blvd, just west of Anza. It's a Chinese/Korean place, so they specialize in Shandong foods. The noodles are handmade, and the soup is a little different from the traditional Taiwanese style. It's heartier and more unctuous, and the beef pieces are smaller and fattier - there aren't the large pieces of tendon. It's really very tasty and definitely worth a try if you don't mind straying from the Taiwanese standard. They also do the best spicy seafood noodle soup I've ever had (jambbong in Korean); the broth is so rich and flavorful, and the handmade noodles are perfect. Also be sure to order dumplings - the pork dumplings are large and very tasty. You can get them boiled or deep fried. The fish dumplings are a standout - delicate and flavorful, but not fishy at all.
4817 Torrance Blvd, Torrance, CA 90503
hum... let me just say that everyone has different standards as far as beef noodle soup. so while one person thinks one shop has the perfect NRM, another person might consider it too oily or spicy. i think it would help if everyone describe what a good bowl of NRM is. for me i like the beef to be tender, melt in your mouth kind. the soup has to be heavy with good body, reddish color and not shy about being a bit spicy. the noodle has to be a bit chewy and not over cooked.
Dai Ho- the noodle here is a bit soggy but its edible. the beef is perfect for my standard, tender with great flavor. the soup has the perfect body but is too sweet for my taste.
Heavy Noodling- noodle here is great, if you like the hand made think noodles. the soup lacked character but was ok, same with the beef.
Even in Taiwan there are many styles on NRM.
Spicy, non spicy, and of course there are mala versions.
Clear broth, mostly daikon and meat based broth. Some have zero flavor like the A&J version (in comparison to hungshao) but there are some in Taiwan that are not spicy, not entirely clear broth but have that similarity (and fantastic of course)
I agree, $8 for NRM is silly price. In Taipei that's the price a chain charges in a famous touristy elite shopping area like Zhongxiao Fuxing or Dunhua. But then again there are places that sell US$100 bowls that are overkill.
And numerous variants, some have Chinese herbs inside.
But it sounds like most of you like the spicy non mala hungshao. Is that the prevalent style of NRM in LA and SGV? Anything that's not that style that is worth mentioning for us and future visitors like moi?
I went to Mei Long Village today and got their spicy beef noodle soup (with extra spicy, of course) and it reminded me of the prepackaged Wei Wong (labeled as Ve Wong) Beef Ramen packets. Really disappointed in the broth and noodles. They don't give you much beef either. The xiao long baos are excellent though, I guess that's what they excel at.
I'm also obsessed with trying to find the best NRM as well! Looking for that combo of rich spicy broth, chewy beef (not the kind that falls apart), sour pickled vegetable, and chewy noodles. I've tried:
Noodle King - think this broth is the best out of the bunch but the noodles aren't good
A&J - awesome noodles, awesome beef, bland broth (although I went to A&J first and didn't know that their default hong shao is barely spicy so I didn't try their added spicy version)
Mandarin Deli - great noodles, good beef, bland broth
Sue's Kitchen - pretty good but oily broth, good noodles (the thicker kind is better), ok beef (good tendons though)
Din Tai Fung - ugh a travesty
Dai Ho Kitchen - like drinking a bowl of chili oil
Hmm may go try Supreme Dragon in Rowland Heights next time. Although there's a Supreme Dragon next to Mei Long Village in San Gabriel, is it owned by the same people?
Don't think so - I don't think I saw mention of a different location on the menu. Supreme Dragon in Rowland Heights also have those pickled green veggie in a pot at the table that you self-serve. Be sure to order the thick noodles or it's not that chewy. The broth there is definitely not bland. If I want bland broth I would order their pickled veggie with pork noodles (which is pretty good too).
although Huaiyang (shanghai) cooking and cantonese have their own hongshao methods, they are different from beijing/shandong style hongshao cooking. Din Tai F and MeiLongZhen aren't going to make it the way it seems you want it, so no real surprize. Try Shenyang on Garvey, Deerfield Garden at atlantic and garvey or 101 noodle express maybe at New and valley. Also, China Islamic might be good. Be sure to ask if the broth is spicy - (la4) if htaht's something you'd like.
And check out the restaurant page at chineseypage.com
I just browsed their site and found this place - might be good.
ACC Chinese Fast Food
38 S. Palm Ave.
Beef Noodle King
958 E. Garvey Ave.
Ordered the beef and beef tendon noodle soup today at Heavy Noodling, and I think everything scored top marks - the beef, broth, and noodles. The beef was deliciously moist, and the tendons were thick, textured and so savory. I got the medium bowl (zhong) and it came with 3 pieces of beef, 3 pieces of big tendon.
What really surprised me was the lack of oil on the broth, which was murky and full of flavor. I asked for extra spicy, and usually you get an inch of greasy chili oil, but Heavy Noodling adds fresh sliced jalapenos for spiciness which is unique and really good. The knifecut noodles were so chewy and doughy I loved them. They give you a good amount of spinach and sour mustard greens in the soup as well.
Out of all the places that I've tried for NRM, Heavy Noodling has to be my favorite!!
TJack, this is one of my fave places to eat NRM. What I like is that they also offer an alternative to the standard chinese noodles - you can order the thick white rice noodles used in Chiu-Chow and Thai soup noodles and in popular dishes like beef chow fun. It's called "huh fun" (mandarin) or "ho fun" (cantonese). The pan-fried dumplings (guo-tieh) are good here as well.
31 E Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91801-5115
There is this place I think called Dumpling House on Rosemead Blvd and Las Tunas in a tiny plaza across from Kmart that has great handmade noodles and great scallion pancakes (much better than Mandarin Deli).
Chang's Garden--Arcadia has good beef noodle soup, but it's really spicy.
The "best" for now (until I can find one better) is Supreme Dragon in Rowland Heights. The place is really not much to look at (can you say hole in the wall), and the service is pretty abrupt, but their noodles with beef and tendon is really the best sample I had so far. The noodles are not handmade, but if you order the 'thicker' style it's chewier.
The soup is nice and flavorful, with traces of leeks and chili. The beef is tender but not mushy, and a pleasant gamey flavor. Some tendon pieces are chewy, while others are soft. I usually take it to go as I am not keen on the decor of that place.
Heavy Noodling (I call it Knife Cut noodle) and Malan have great noodles, but insipid broth. If you are willing to sacrifice broth for noodles, Supreme Dragon fits the bill.
Have to try Jerome's tip. I am guessing that's in the opposite plaza from Supreme Dragon (Hong Kong Supermarket).
I like the hongshao niuroumian at A&J Restaurant on Valley in San Gabriel. I usually get the thinner noodles (you can specify thick or thin). For a great variation, you might also try the qingdun niuroumian (instead of "red-braised" you get "clear-stewed"), which has the same cut of meat -- chunks of beef shin, stewed not in a soy-sauce based broth, but rather a clear, salt-based beef broth (analogous to shio ramen vs. shoyu ramen). The broth has a light body but is so flavorful and the beef shin full of melting tendony goodness, a cleaner, more elegant version of niuroumian.
A&J is based out of Beijing and has several location in America. When you order your noodle soup or what not, you can also specify thick or thin noodles for your meal. I usually prefer the thick noodles (actually wide and flat -- guang mian). Can't remember if they were knife cut or not, but I believe they were hand made, at least a couple of years ago.
This is in the same strip mall as Noodle King/Lees. Their cold dishes are good as well.
Their Zhang Jiang Mian is good as well, salty and not sweet like the Korean version. I am a bit partial to this place since my first Zhang Jiang Mian I ever at was at Ban Mu Yuan (A&J) in Beijing.
Give Shau May (xiao mei) or Kang Kang a try for the broth. I know, it's a food court, but hear me out. The NRM is very Taiwanese according to my Fukkienese friend. It's not red-roasted, but a little sweet in design. I eat it all the time. 101 is OK for a good balance of all the criteria you list. I agree with others that the focus of MaLan is the pull. When trying Shau May, add an order of Shanghai Pan Fried Small Bao (now available in beef).
March, this year: Beef noodle cartel raises prices of NRM, a worker staple, in industrial sections of Lanzhou. Market ecconomy tactics prove controversial as major vendors collude to...
Beef stew noodle soup at Mandarin Deli. I usually get it spicy, and either with noodles or bean thread. The broth is rich and very very flavorful, the beef falls apart as it should. mmmm I want some now.
And the thing is I don't eat beef with the singular exception of this soup at the Mandarin Deli.
There used to be two places for really good NRM (nu ro mian). Both were run by the same owner. The same location is still there on Valley, called Ding Ho and it's a small taiwanese joint. The owner left and ran a spot on Garvey and as well as a place on valley blvd behind the Target shopping center. Anyway, i've had to resort to other joints.
Dai Ho in Temple City. Yes it's good, but cannot stand the owner. Arrogant. His noodles are true taiwanese style - loaded with chili bean paste and chili oil. Good though.
Mandarin Noodle Deli - This Taiwanese-owned place is consistent and the owner is very nice to me. Their NRM is good though I think the broth isn't as stocky as it should be. Kind of on the watery side. Beef is tender. Aside from the NRM, they have a great assortment of snacks like the beef pancake (fajita), big potstickers w/ chewy dough and onion pancake (tung you bing).
Noodle King in Alhambra (Wendy's shopping center) - Probably my favorite at the moment. Their beef is tender, soup is solid and noodles are cooked perfectly. The broth isn't as spicy as Dai Ho but of course can be altered to your liking. One thing I like about this place is the option of ordering the SUPER BOWL. This is a great way to introduce this dish to ppl that have not had the privilege of enjoying NRM. Their potstickers are big and doughy; great.
Mei Long Village in San Gabriel - very good. The soup is red from the use of chili bean paste and is damn flavorful. I would rate this place 2nd on my list. Mmm, i need to go back soon.
Heavy Noodling - still have not gone here to try it. I know ppl love it for their knife-shaven noodles.
Ding Tai Fung in Arcadia - I'm not sure what their NRM tastes like but they are mainly known for their shao loong bao (soupy dumplings)
Arcadia 99 Ranch Food Market Food Court (side) - the NRM place in here used to be good. Although the owner is still there, he changed his cooks. But now he also offers knife-shaven noodles.
Green Village Restaurant in San Gabriel (Focus Shopping Ctr) - I haven't been here in months, but remember their NRM to be pretty good.
Hope this helps.
Yup, just went back to MND (Part of the Mandarin Deli Chain) in MP (next to 99 ranch plaza on Garvey near Atlantic) and had their handmade beef noodle soup and it was as good as I remember it... Just PERFECTLy balanced in spices, beefy and the noodles were still great.... YUM!! :)
OK. went for lunch today with some friends to
101 noodle express
valley blvd just west of New, Alhambra, in the same mall as the bowling alley.
We didn't order the noodle soup - but they have beef noodle soup (hongshao), they have a beef and tendon noodle soup, the color is right. it's shandong style, so not a lot of chili, but a rich broth nonetheless.
give it a try.
So I tried Sue's Kitchen last night. I'll definitely be going back there. The broth was very good... although it was pretty oily. I'm sure that added to the taste. The soup was pretty spicy and nicely flavored. The noodles were really good as well. Chewy and "springy". The beef was average. It could have been a little more tender. The bowl itself was also quite big. Overall, I thought the bowl was great. Not perfect but on the top of my list of what I've tried in LA.
I decided not to go to Dai Ho on recommendations from my friends that Dai Ho is just not really that good and that it is overrated. I might have to try it some other time.
For what it's worth, we had a really disappointing experience at Ma Lan the other day (last weekend).
First of all, dirty dishes piled high on a cart to the side of the room. And not a few-- it was a veritable mountain of dirty dishes. Despite there being plenty of open seating, the waitress seated us directly next to The Pile. We should have moved-- we didn't.
The Pile had filled up in the cart to beyond capacity, and there was a grey plastic bin on the floor for dirty dish overflow. We watched as the sole waitress at the place (a sort of grumpy middle aged lady in a frumpy engrish sweatshirt) kept adding and adding to the mountain.
We waited a very long time-- upwards of 30 minutes-- to get our soup (there were about a dozen customers in the restaurant). And once we did-- brace yourself--
They Were Out Of Spoons.
Out of spoons! And do you know why?
Yes, that's right folks, their entire supply of spoons was consumed by The Pile.
The soup itself was unextraordinary- certainly not worth what he had just been through. Prices have gone up considerably as well ($9 for a bowl now- I remember in the days they had a Monterey Park outpost, circa ~2005, the cost was closer to $5). The noodles, thankfully, were great. The one redeeming aspect of our meal.
Towards the end of our meal, someone came out from the back and wheeled the mountain of dishes away. We witnessed spoons going out to the new customer arrivals. No effort was made to offer us or the prior customers spoons, but that's fine-- we were almost done, and likewise are completely done now with Ma Lan. It's a shame-- I used to love the place.
In other news, how has the niu rou mian scene changed in Rowland Heights since 2006? I need to find a new place.
i think heavy noodling small noodles are "cat's ears" and the soup has daoshao knife cut noodles
what you're looking for is, i think, hongshao niurou mian. The better places used to offer straight beef, straight tendon, or beef and tendon. My fave was noodle king on valley next to the garfield theater.
I like malan noodles for the noodles. the beef isn't really what you're looking for there, it's a clear broth, more gansu province style. I suggest the following BUT this only goes by word of mouth. if you try it, report back, but I think it may be what you're looking for.
18457 E COLIMA RD C
fwiw ma lan did once have Hong Shao style noodles with the spicier broth. I was just there, but i get the house special which is the clear broth. consider calling them and asking if they make the hongshao style noodles anymore.
Finally went to the Beef Noodle King in Rowland Heights. It's in the food court in the same plaza as Happy Family.
Overall, not bad, but the soup can use more depth. They had beef rolls, knife cut noodles, and a special tian-jian baos also. The knife cut noodles were a bit doughier than most - I am typing this in a high carb stupor.
I still prefer the soup at Supreme Dragon better - more punch, but overall when you account for the noodles also the best so far is No. 1 Noodle (with knife cut noodles).
Saw a newly opened A&J in Diamond Bar, if it's the same as the one in Irvine I've have to check it out.
not to make this a ramen topic... but i think my two favorite places for ramen are Santouka and Shin Sen Gumi. I used to frequent ramenya and asahi on sawtelle. Went back there after Santouka and Shinsengumi and had a hard time finishing a bowl. Is Chabuya any different?
Thanks for all the recommendations. I'm always open for more.
I definitely have to try Sue's Kitchen. Was going to try to go there this week but missed my chance.
What is the cross street for Dai Ho? Las Tunas and ????
If you like Japanese style noodles or ramen, try Chabuya on Sawtelle in West L.A.. It's a small noodle shop right on restaurant row north of Olympic.
Noodles - As far as I can tell, they are freshly made and cooked perfectly. Not too chewy, and not too soft. The Chabuya Classic is my favorite -- noodles, pork broth, and a slice of Japanese style pork chashu. Add some spicy sesame oil, an it's delicious!
Broth - I have only tried their pork broth, but it is very very good. I believe they also have chicken or vegetable broth.
Price - Very affordable -- you're looking at around $6.75 to $8 for a bowl of noodles, and you'll be pretty full when you're done.
Miscellaneous - I recommend sitting at the noodle bar at the back of the restaurant with the open kitchen.
I haven't been to any of the above (Dai Ho is the one I've been to in SGV several months ago), but I have had the real deal in Taiwan. For me, Sue's Kitchen in Torrance has one of the best versions. Excellent broth, though the noodles could have been a tad firmer on my visit.